About a fortnight ago I went to a cat cafe in Shibuya. It was fun but slightly disappointing that so many of the cats were asleep or just not doing much. Of course, they were cats, what was I expecting? I suppose disdain for the humans so obviously delighted to see them would be par for the course. However, in my efforts to find a cat cafe I also discovered that there were such things as rabbit cafes, and they appealed to me more. There are two in Tokyo; one in Harajuku and one in Jiyugaoka, run by the same people, and so both have the same name: Rabbit And Grow Fat. A stroke of genius, made even more brilliant by the decision to go by the acronym Ra.a.g.f. which can only be pronounced as some kind of roar, and perfected in the cafe’s logo, complete with cartoon rabbit droppings:
As I have probably mentioned before, I love showing people around Tokyo and the surrounding area. Despite having lived here for more than twenty years I still find myself thrilled with life on a daily basis. I feel incredibly lucky to live in this amazing city, in this great country, and having opportunities to show people around lets me share that, and also to see familiar places through new eyes or just have an excuse to be a tourist myself! The visit to Hapineko (ハピ猫) in Shibuya was such a tourist opportunity, and of course then also a blogging opportunity, but where I was really wanting to go was Rabbit And Grow Fat.
Finally, yesterday, I made it to Ra.a.g.f. in the company of a friend visiting Tokyo. (The same friend who has indulged other odd requests of mine, most notably walking around the whole of the Yamanote Line in a day.) We decided to go to the cafe in Jiyugaoka, since that one is much closer to where I live, but I assume that the one in Harajuku is the same. We had made a failed attempt to go there on Sunday, not realising that you really need to make a reservation, since the cafe is quite small, and they only seem to be able to accommodate about a dozen people at a time. On Sunday we made a reservation for yesterday at 5:30pm, which gave us an extra twenty-four hours to look forward to our rabbity treat.
The procedure for gaining admission to Ra.a.g.f. is much simpler than what we had to do at Hapineko, but is really the same kind of thing; take your shoes off, put your bag somewhere out of reach, read and sign a disclaimer:
choose a drink and then enjoy being with the rabbits. My favourite regulation is the one which states, ‘We won’t compensate you for injuries and stains inflicted on your clothes by our rabbits. (We will disinfect you by a simple means, though.)’ You have been warned!
There were two small rabbits hopping about in the cafe, and about twenty in cages at the end of the room.
The room itself is divided by a wall about a metre high, and there was someone sitting inside the smaller part, but I was unclear why he was there. Since it’s possible to bring your own rabbit with you I had thought that maybe that was what he had done, but it became clear that the rabbit hopping around him was one of Ra.a.g.f.’s own, so I have no idea. The young woman working there explained to us that we could open any of the cages and pet the rabbits inside, but we couldn’t take them out. The regulations stated that if we wanted to hold a specific rabbit we should ask the staff, but we were content to pet and feed them in their cages. Maybe next time!
It’s possible to buy a small dish of veggies for ¥100 and we did that. The two small rabbits were extremely lively and rushed around the room stopping for rabbity snacks whenever they were offered, but all the rabbits in the cages were friendly enough to be petted and lively enough and happy to be fed. There is a wide variety of rabbits, the largest being a magnificent specimen called Figaro:
My favourite, though, was Donguri (団栗, Acorn) who was one of the small brown ones. He and his little friend
looked just like all the rabbits you can see wild in the UK (I always look out for them when I take a train) but they bounded about and for the most part were happy to be held for a short time. Here is Donguri relaxing under a table
We only stayed for half an hour, which is the ‘trial course’, and costs ¥600, and includes one drink. The regular course is for one hour, and costs ¥1,000. The information says that they have a ‘free drink system’ so you may be able to order more than one drink in that case. If you want to spend longer than an hour, you can extend by thirty-minute increments, for ¥500.
I really enjoyed Rabbit And Grow Fat, and since it’s so close to home I’m tempted to go sometimes, and certainly anyone coming to visit me will be taken there. I’d also like to go to the branch in Harajuku and see how similar it is. If you’d like to go to Ra.a.g.f. Jiyugaoka, it’s very easy to find. From the main exit of the station, turn right and walk along the road beside the old (but recently renovated) Jiyugaoka Department Store. Ra.a.g.f. is on the corner at the second turning on the left. You can see the sign on the corner of the building:
I found the whole experience relaxing, and fun in a very only-in-Tokyo- kind of way. As a novelty for someone visiting Tokyo it’s perfect, but even if you’ve lived here for a long time, it’s worth a try. Let me know if you’d like company!